Leukemia: About Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Blood is made of three types of cells:

  • White blood cells that fight infection
  • Red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body
  • Platelets that help the blood clot and stop bleeding

These cells are made in the bone marrow, a spongy area in the center of the bones. Once these cells mature, they leave the marrow and start circulating through the bloodstream.

With leukemia, the bone marrow produces an overabundance of one kind of cell—usually white blood cells—that no longer function normally. Instead these abnormal cells crowd the bone marrow so it can no longer produce enough healthy cells.